REVIEW: Hyundai’s revamped Creta is a fuss-free holiday car
Like all Hyundais this is a quality product, and its value lies in the engineering and build quality
What was noticeable about the recently revamped Hyundai Creta we had as a “holiday” car in December and early January was how much favourable praise the car received from casual onlookers.
A woman in Melville confessed it was the car she had had her eye on for some time, and our Executive-spec test model, finished in Dragon Red Pearl with distinctive silver side flashes, cut a very dashing figure parked up against the rocky kerbs in Olde-Joburg.
With the mid-2022 revamp for the Creta range, an eye-catching grille in satin black, with LED headlamps, has indeed refreshed the appearance, with shades of the more upmarket Hyundai Tucson. The 17-inch black-and-silver alloys with a distinct Executive design added to the package in an appealing way.
The latest version of the Creta embraces Hyundai’s shrewd marketing plan of only really offering cars and features on cars that the customers want in great numbers. And the new Creta range has taken this a step further, regarding the mechanical spec of the car. Gone are the options of a naturally aspirated, turbo petrol engine or a turbodiesel model.
Today’s Creta range comes only in nonturbo four-cylinder petrol motor. Mechanically, your options are limited to a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Drive on both variants is through the front wheels, and the Executive model is available only in CVT form, while the less-pricey Premium models come in either manual or CVT.
Until recently, I have been pretty consistent in criticising CVT gearboxes, mainly for their tendency to drone annoyingly at a constant rev range whenever an uphill is encountered. This is also true when accelerating hard in an urban situation to gain a favourable position in traffic.
But this CVT is of the new breed now being produced by a number of manufacturers. Hyundai call theirs an IVT (for Intelligent Variable Transmission). What it means is that electronic interfaces on the drive belt and cone pulley system simulates the gear ratios of a conventional automatic.
This IVT system is very good, superior in some ways to a conventional fluid-drive automatic, as the “gearing” differences are so subtle, and in almost all cases, appropriate to the way you are driving the vehicle.
I did notice, on the highway, that the gearbox would almost imperceptibly change down for some uphills, and this change was only noticeable by the fact that the rev-counter needle moved up by a couple of hundred rpm. On a light throttle, the engine in the Creta is very quiet at highway speeds, and indeed around town too, in normal, relaxed driving. This echoes Hyundai’s claims of having worked hard at reducing noise and vibration levels in the latest Creta.
Nowadays it is common for manufacturers to claim a significant fuel-economy benefit for their CVT models, and this is the case for the latest Creta models, where the IVT examples have a claimed consumption 0.2l/100km better than the manual model.
Over varied roads and traffic situations in the greater Gauteng area, I managed a best highway consumption between Tshwane and Roodepoort in the region of 5.3l/100km. This was achieved at appropriate highway speeds of between 110 and 120km/h and avoiding any sudden acceleration. In easy driving around built-up urban areas (the roads are nice and quiet in Gauteng over the Christmas period) I could easily keep the overall consumption down to the 6.2 to 6.5l/100km range.
It is rather pointless driving the Creta “like you stole it” with hard applications of throttle and late braking, because the engine is very much a moderate family spec device. Displacing 1.5l, it is rated at just 84kW, which is hardly generous for a large-ish Cross Over type vehicle. Better to drive this car at all times in cruise mode, as the typical buyer would.
For the record, the 0-100 km/h time is rated at 11.8 seconds (slightly quicker than the manual model) and the top speed is given as 170km/h.
Being in a chilled frame of mind, I focused rather on the generous rear leg room in the Creta, and the large load area of 416l. The boot area comes equipped with a sturdy cargo net, which was often put to good use over the holiday. There is also a full-sized spare wheel.
After checking out the eye-catching exterior, the interior of the Creta comes as a little bit of a surprise, in that it is definitely of the minimalist variety as far as knobs, buttons and gadgets is concerned. The dashboard is laid out in logical fuss-free fashion, but it was pleasing to note that the climate control was operated by two large rotary knobs. The same went for the audio system.
The central infotainment touch screen cluster offers the usual Bluetooth and Apple/Android compatibility for smartphones, and on the Executive model there is a smartphone charging pad in the console, which is handy. The central area between the front seats has now been simplified by the fitment of an electronic parking brake.
Hill start assist is part of the new package on the Creta along with other basic safety items such as ABS braking, electronic stability control, and in the case of the Executive model, a handy reverse camera that gives visuals through the central infotainment screen.
The Creta Executive is also distinguished by six airbags, while the less-expensive premium models make do with two. Cruise control is also fitted to the Creta Executive, but I never use the feature, preferring to be as involved with a car as I can at all times.
Not that the Creta is all that involving from a driving dynamics point of view. It simply does everything competently and without fuss. Again, Hyundai has aimed the car at these sorts of drivers.
In a way it’s a pity my schedule didn’t include a lengthy holiday trip. With a 50l fuel tank, I would have enjoyed achieving a nonstop range of close to 800km, easily doable in this car. Eat yerr hearts out, EV drivers!
The price is not insubstantial at R489,900, but like all Hyundais this is a quality product, where the value lies in the engineering and build quality, rather than in add-on frills. It’s a car I could easily live with.
The warranty is an excellent seven-years/200,000km, and a service plan is included in the price, applicable for the first 60,000km.
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